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Product Focus: Hand protection

Trends in ... hand protection

Perform ‘rigorous research’ when selecting hand protection

June 13, 2013

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When it comes to hand protection technology, manufacturers are not twiddling their thumbs. “There is a push to develop finer gauge, more dexterous gloves while still maintaining a high level of cut resistance,” said Brian Moseley, research and development manager for Menlo, GAbased Showa Best Glove Inc. Moseley also noted that glove manufacturers are starting to incorporate a combination of safety features, such as wicking properties with chemical protection.

Cory Houston, marketing and new media, Mechanix Wear Inc. in Valencia, CA, said Poron XRD foam is a popular new material for impact absorption. “Retaining shape with time, this material is sleeker and more absorbent for palm cushioning and top-of-hand impact resistance from common blunt-force impact injuries,” he said.

Worker demand for comfort is another factor, according to Laura Proctor, director of customer marketing, industrial; and Beemal Vasani, director of customer marketing, specialty markets, for Ansell North America Region, based in Iselin, NJ. In a joint email to Safety+Health, they said “Some glove manufacturers are employing thinner yarns, such as Dyneema Diamond Technology, that provide a balance of cut protection, comfort and dexterity.”

However, new technology can be a hard sell to some workers. “Workers may be reluctant to wear hand protection incorporating new cut protection technology because they intuitively believe a thick leather glove offers the best protection against cuts,” Proctor and Vasani said. To help workers move past these misconceptions, they recommend training, saying it is essential to educate workers about new products and technology. Moseley also stressed the importance of training, stating that manufacturers need to provide more education to the end user to ensure hand protection products actually meet their application.

Houston said some glove manufacturers “try to build ‘super gloves’ packed full of features that don’t necessarily benefit the user.” To correct this, he said, manufacturers need to “get in the field. Rigorous research in the field will pinpoint features and materials that are most beneficial to the end user.”

Ultimately, it is vital that workers use the correct glove for the job. “If an application includes multiple hazards, the safety manager should select gloves that first protect against the hazard that presents the greatest risk, such as cuts,” Proctor and Vasani said. Houston agreed, saying that “the days of the ‘one size fits all’ work glove are over.” Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association Coming next month… Eyewashes/showers Perform ‘rigorous research’ when selecting hand protection

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

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